Toshiba: The Japanese newspaper Nikkei announced on Monday (8) a possible division of Toshiba Corporation into three distinct publicly-held companies, focusing on different areas such as infrastructure, appliances and semiconductors. The triple division, in a company that was built through the merger of several companies, could occur, according to the periodical, in 2023.
Also according to the publication, which does not quote sources, the impact measure should be announced next Friday (12), when the company will disclose its balance sheet and also a business plan for the medium term. The rumor comes at a delicate moment in Toshiba’s history, which involves a series of institutional crises that culminated in the departure of its chairman Nobuaki Kurumatani in April, amid a controversial takeover offer.
Sought by AFP, spokeswoman Tatsuro Oishi confirmed that the company is “considering the spin-off as one of the options to increase corporate value”. On the inclusion of the triple division already in the new medium-term business plan, Oishi said that “nothing has been decided” yet.
Making peace with shareholders?
Kurumatani’s resignation reflects a new profile of shareholders, most of them foreigners, admitted after the bankruptcy of the US nuclear power plant subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric. Called “activists,” these foreign stockholders conducted an independent investigation that revealed that Toshiba had repeatedly tried to prevent minority shareholders from exercising their right to voice and vote.
The decision to split the Japanese giant’s business may be an attempt to appease “activist shareholders” by theoretically maximizing the combined market value of Toshiba’s operations. However, some experts disagree. Hidei Yasuda, an analyst at the Ace Research Institute, warns that, separately, the three segments of the conglomerate could become more vulnerable, in addition to the fact that one unit’s profits cannot cover the other’s losses.